Gareth Bale's first season at Real Madrid appeared to go so well, playing a major role in helping the club win their much-craved 10th European Cup at the first attempt.
However, less than six months later, it would seem all is not quite right in the Spanish capital.
The Welshman has been injured and, in his absence, seen both Isco and James Rodriguez shine in wide areas. However, upon his return to the side as a substitute against Liverpool this week, it appears he did little to endear himself to manager Carlo Ancelotti.
France's Le 10 Sport (French) highlights a report by Javier Martin in Spanish newspaper El Economista, which was titled "The Disobedience of Gareth Bale." The Welshman is believed to have ignored instructions to play in a withdrawn wide role against Liverpool, preferring to push forward as a winger. His manager, it would seem, was far from impressed.
Post-match, however, Ancelotti gave no such suggestion:
Dermot Corrigan @dermotmcorrigan
Ancelotti: “Bale didnt start as better after injury to play 30 mins. He felt fine. On Saturday, when we play with 12, he'll start game.”2014-11-4 22:25:23
Bale's links with Manchester United are nothing new, with John Cross of the Daily Mirror reporting a bid in the summer of 2013, but his act of tactical "disobedience" is being reported as a potential catalyst for a return to England just 18 months after his record-breaking move from Tottenham to Spain.
Given that deal was valued at somewhere in the region of £85 million by BBC Sport at the time, such speculation would seem fanciful. Then again, players of Bale's quality and proven ability to perform at the highest level do not come along too often. United would doubtless be interested.
Le 10 Sport's article also cites El Pase Extra journalist Tomas Guasch suggesting that Real could make Bale's exit feasible by instead using the Welshman in a deal to return Angel Di Maria to the Bernabeu.
However, it is important to remember that Di Maria was not exactly impressed with Madrid's handling of his situation this summer, and neither is Florentino Perez a man prone to admitting mistakes.
Just like United's rumoured pursuit of Cristiano Ronaldo, a move for Bale in the near future would seem a distant proposition.
For all Isco's success during Bale's injury absence, the Welshman has shown enough during his Real Madrid career to suggest he could be a big player long-term. Even this season, as WhoScored.com statistics show, he has contributed well with six goals and four assists in 13 games.
Real Madrid are a curious club, though, and can sometimes make decisions on signings that many would find difficult to comprehend—with Di Maria and Xabi Alonso's summer exits the latest in a long list.
It is clear from recent reporting that there are concerns about Bale in Spain of late, but it would still be an incredible shock were he allowed to move on anytime in the near future.